As of this writing, there are about 7.38 billion people in the world. Accounting for births and deaths, global population goes up by about 200,000 people each day. The number of humans on Earth is expected to peak around 10 billion near the end of this century, though predictions certainly vary. What does all this mean? In 1968, Paul Ehrlich published _The Population Bomb. _He predicted mass starvation and global chaos–breakdowns in order, in society.
Digital technology has revolutionized our world. Before the invention of electronic computers, complex calculations could only be performed by humans, at best with mechanical aids that moderately sped up the process. Now, computers are powerful enough to solve problems in a fraction of a second that would take even a mathematically gifted human minutes if not much, much longer. The Internet enables near-instantaneous communication to almost anywhere on Earth. Information technologies are shaking up and radically changing different industries all the time.
The phrase “autism epidemic” is thrown around so much it’s taken for granted. Autism is widely seen as a terrible burden, a fate often said to “tear families apart.” Autistic children and even adults are described in terms that make them out to be liabilities, rather than human beings worthy of love, respect, and even personhood. Stories like these, earnest as they might be, reduce autistic people to forces of nature.
These days, encryption is everywhere. On the Internet, what was once used mostly to protect online purchases has become practical enough to secure almost all of our interactions with websites and online services. This is a good thing. What’s not so good is that encryption and the way we use it are both dangerously fallible. Malicious hackers break into supposedly secure systems all the time, to say nothing of what government agencies like the NSA have accomplished.